Odysseus Egoism Character Analysis Essay
Odysseus’ morals and actions do not fit the mold of a modern-day hero. Throughout the novel, The Odyssey, Odysseus displays qualities such as selfishness, ignorance, and cruelty, which do not align with the qualities of today’s perceived heroes. Odysseus proves himself unworthy of a hero title across the entirety of his quest by putting himself first and withholding mercy from others. Odysseus jeopardizes the safety of his crew when he chooses to lead them onto the island of the Cyclops. Odysseus’ behavior demonstrates selfishness and pride, for it was unnecessary for him and his men to venture off their ship. They could have avoided the suffering they endured on the island if Odysseus hadn’t longed to sack the city. It is clear that Odysseus is only concerned about gaining wealth and recognition, not the best interests of his crew. When Odysseus’ men beg him to steal from Polyphemus and then immediately flee, Odysseus “would not listen to them” and insisted on staying until he returned “in the hope that he might give [him] a present”. (95). This exemplifies the fact that Odysseus is not only ignorant, but that he also feels obligated to reap benefits for himself, even if it means threatening the lives of others. One who is considered a modern-day hero certainly wouldn’t show this trait of self-glorification. By the same token, Odysseus reveals his lack of hero status through his vicious attack on the suitors. Odysseus engages in a brutal battle to destroy the suitors and has bitter unforgiveness pent up inside of him. Odysseus expresses his outrage towards the suitors for invading his home and mistreating his family and servants: “I will not stay my hand till I have paid all of you in full. You must fight, or fly for your lives; and fly, not a man of you shall.” (224). This highlights Odysseus’ refusal to show mercy to the suitors who wronged him. His demeanor is ruthless and not like that of a hero. As can be seen, Odysseus does not qualify as a hero by modern standards. The way Odysseus handles himself throughout his adventures in The Odyssey testifies to his self-centered, ignorant, and hostile personality.